tv [untitled] July 7, 2012 2:00pm-2:30pm EDT
black man? i say the answer is easy. the black man is the one who has to ride the jim crow cart through georgia. and i think shifting our focus towards discrimination and inequality is, you know, we supposedly live in a post racial era. but as long as that inequality exists and the discrimination exists, then race exists, too. >> i think we'll leave it there. thank you. >> thank you. >> each week at this tile, american history tv features an hour-long conversation from from c-span's sunday night interview series q&a. here this week's encore q&a on american history tv.
>> this week on q&a a look behind the new book by former secretary of defense donald rumsfeld. currently on his book tour, mr. rumsfeld talks about the making of the book and response to some reviews. he also looks back to a c-span appearance 20 years ago where he gave advice to presidents and their staffs. >> donald rumsfeld, author of "known and unknown," how did you write this book? >> i decided to -- first, i thought about doing a quick one in a year and using basically my memory. instead, i decided that i have such a rich archive that i -- and i've lived so many year, a third of our country's history, which is almost unbelievable, but i decided to digitize a lot of my papers, and then use that.
the second thing i did was i decided that i've read a lot of book business friends involving things that i had been involved in, and it was a narrow perspective often. so i decided to bring in, i don't know how many people, 4050 people, one at a time, who were involved with me at various segments of my life and we'd sit in a conference room and tape it, and then transcribe it, and each stimulate the other one and talk about, remind each other of things that took place. and then we'd transcribe it, and then i also had, oh, i had my parents' letters from world war ii, i have all of the memos when i met with gerald ford, the only president who wasn't elect or vice president or president. i dictate a lot of memo on these old fashion dig ta phones with the little tapes and i had mountains of paper. and i did a lot of oral history overs years. each time i'd do some position,
some group would want to do an oral history. i had this enormous archive. we just started taking it and putting it together and then working it and working it and working it, and it took forever. it took four years to do this. so -- but it's fun. i enjoyed it. bill sapphire said, you've got to enjoy it. i said i'm going expect it will tack a long time, be a lot of work and i'll relax and enjoy it, and i have. i've had a chance to visit with old friends. >> where did you do it? >> mostly in washington work my archive is. the more it got digitized i could do it at my nome new mexico or st. michaels, maryland. >> did you have one kind of over es seeing the whole thing for you. >> i'm got an army. i've got -- i've got three key people who help immediate do all of it. and then i've had, oh, five or six other people who have been doing the fact checking and
research and transcribing and all of the mountain of work that it involves. so we -- we probably had a team of six, seven people. >> how many days or hours collectively did you actually spend on it, do you think? >> oh, goodness. well, over four years -- >> every day? >> most every day. probably, you know, 5 1/2, 6 days a week. >> why did you want to spend all of this time doing this? >> well, i -- at first i didn't. at first i thought i'd do a short book. and then i decided that i had the time, i had the ability to digitize, which saves an enormous amount of time, and i decided that what i wanted to do was to try to write it for people who are interested in history who are interested in government, serious people, who would like to feel that they were there in the room when
decisions were made and get a sense of the people and what the differences were or what the agreements were, how it worked. but i -- but the website that we creates with these hundreds and hundreds of documents, and you know, thousands of pages, give a reader a chance to read the book, look at an end note, something like 1,300 end notes, look at the end note and see the entire memo. so if i've quoted a paragraph they can read the entire memorandum and see, that's interesting, that's what the context and the perspective was. partly i wanted to do it because i'm able to do it. i have the time and i have the archive and the interest, and i never done it before. i mean, many people have written books. i have never written a pook. >> who paid for all of this? >> i did. >> out of your own pock. uh-huh. uh-huh. >> on websiting where did you get this idea? has it ever been done before,
that you know of? >> not that i know of. i'm sure there is somebody who must have done it. but what we've done, we've taken all of these primary source documents, things in large measure, i've written, for whatever reason, over, you know, so many decades, and digitized them. then you can research it. you can go in and look by key word, name, date. so i think that it's -- the book is rooted in the archive, and it is what it is. it says what happened, i think. >> i know when i got on, i could type in names of people that i've known and it would come up. but i guess -- you just said this -- you could actually click on a letter or an article on the end notes, which i don't think i've ever seen before, and as you'll see, i'll read back to you some of the things people have written. they've used your own end notes against you in sure. exactly. it's inevitable. if you're going to put that much
out there, someone's going to find something and of course, a lot of it's never read by me. it was never edited, there will be misspellings, names wrong. but it -- these were working documents, things that actually were part of how things worked. >> what do you think it cost you? >> goodness, i don't know. it's cost quite a bit. fortunately life's been good. i spent 20 years in the private sector and i've been able to do that. >> would it cost you a half million, a million dollars? >> i don't want to guess. >> but a lot of money. >> uh-huh. >> what do you hope to get interest this? >> i hope to have produced a book, we i think i have, that will interest people in public service that will inform serious people about how decisions are made and the fact that those are tough jobs and that the people in them are honorable people and that the -- they're -- they have to make decisions with imperfect
information inevitably. i hope they'll have a glimpse of what the times that i've lived have been, this third of our country's history. i think of it, i mean i was -- serving in congress during the vietnam war and during the civil rights marches and the time when the city of washington, d.c., was in flames after martin luther king was killed, assassinated. they'll get a sense of the fact that president lyndon johnson could barely leave the white house for periods because of the demonstrators against the war in vietnam. we all have a tendency to think of the times we're living in as somewhat unique and distinctive, of course they're different. but in my 78 years, i've seen an awful lot of turmoil in the country and difficulties in the country. i must say i also hope that people will read this and see how important the all-volunteer military's been. if you think about it, back in
the '60s, before president nixon, milton friedman and a group of people had a push for a volunteer army and nixon managed to get through the congress. before that, there were people who were serving that didn't want to serve in our military. everyone today is there because they want to. every single person is there because they put up their hand and said, i want to do this, i'm a volunteer, send me. and the mood in the country is so different as a result of that, compared to the vietnam war, today what's going on in iraq or afghanistan. the american people are proud of the military and the military are proud of what they're doing, and they know what they're doing and they know why they're doing it, which is why i decided i wanted the proceeds from the book, my proceeds, to go to the men and women in uniform and their families who also serve and to the children of the fallen and that's what -- that's what will happen to the proceeds. >> if you get on the donald rumsfeld foundation website you see that you have somewhere
around $10 million in the found day, maybe more by now, but you see you've given money away, scholarship money away. how do you choose those people? how much of that have you done? why are you doing that? >> i've had people work for me in government who never could have gotten a master's or a ph.d. on their own. and there was a foundation supporting that type of thing for people who needed the assistance. and joyce and i decided, my wife joyce, that we would give some money each year and we have spotters around the country, at oh, 10, 12, 15 different universities who make recommendations to us and then we select them and provide the funds they need, the tuition and stipends they need, to be able to particularly people interested in public service. these are people who are studying things like economics or government or international affairs and things that relate
to government with the thought that maybe someday they'll participate in helping to guide and direct our country. >> go back to the book itself. how much of it did you personally write? >> well, i wrote a lot. and i don't know quite how to answer it because i dictated. what i would do is dictate and it would be transcribed and then our team of people would work it in fact-check it and recast it. i suppose i had been over every gho word in it 15, 20 times, editing and ed itting, which is what i do. we took some of the material, things that i dictated years ago, and the cables and memorandum and the likes. >> i -- the question, are you tired of this? writing it and talking it? i've seen you on fox several times, i've seen you on abc, on cbs, i read a lot of interviews
usa today and other publicati publications. is this getting old? no, it's not at all. ien joy doing it, as i said. if -- when one looks in the book it's clear i feel very fortunate to have been able to serve in government over so many different roles, over so many decades. and i find it interesting. i also have never written a book before, and the thing i've always enjoyed in life most is learning. and this has been an opportunity for me to learn, to -- which makes it particularly interesting. i think if you do something over and over and over again, probably it can get a little tiring, but i've never written a book. and it's been a challenge. we've put together this wonderful team of people and worked hard on it and enjoyed it and imjoenjoying having a chanc to talk about it, how we did it, why we did it. >> you told friend barnes in
"the weekly standard" you called seven people before this book was published to them what to expect in it and you -- maybe you wrote 20 others. >> i did. >> explain that. why and did you call them? who did you call? >> well, i remember calling president bush and vice president cheney and colin powell and condi rice and jerry bremer, you know, maybe one or two others. and then i sent it out to a lot, the memo, a separate memo, out to a lot of people the reason i did it this has not been done before. there's a website that exists now, rumsfeld.com, people can go in, they are going in in large numbers and i thought people ought to know their names are in some memos and i didn't want them to be surprised. i told all of them i doubted there was a single memo that referenced them that they had not already seen. it would have been something i sent to them earlier or
something they sent to me or we were discussing something. the only surprise would be that sud lynn a bunch of people unknown to them or me would be seeing memos and reading them. >> i saw a couple of cases where a memo was classified and you got the defense department to declassify it. my first reaction when i saw that is, if i want one of those, i have to go through the freedom of information act to do it. is that a little bit unfair to the outside world, that you can get something declassified that i couldn't? >> new yorko, i wouldn't think . for example u.s. ambassador to nato back in 1973, '4. and there's -- there are certain things where they just declassify after a certain period. and i was president reagan's middle east envoy in the 1980s, and as i talk about in the book, meeting with saddam hussein and those things. a great, large fractions of those things are automatically
declassified. and then we had a number of the things that i dictated, of course, classified only because they were time sensitive and i classified them originally. and the pentagon does this in the normal course of things and they have. >> i i have bunch of coves sitting if my lap, good and bad, of your book. to start with, who made the decision to give the first interviews to abc? >> oh -- >> and why? >> i don't know why. i suppose various networks indicated they'd like to do it and then the publisher and people expert in all of this -- which i'm not -- would discuss it and then it would end up discussing it and someone in the group would say i recommend this or i recommend that and that would happen. >> did it have anything to do with diane sawyer and you working together years ago? >> no. we really never worked together. she was in the white house press office in the nixon
administration. but, no, we never worked closely together at all. >> i want to run the opening to "night line." you work for for yours, the book goes into the hands of the media and all of this is is the introduction and i want your reaction. >> it must be bad or you wouldn't want to -- >> no, it's not. have you seen this? >> i have not. >> let's run it and get your reaction. >> okay. >> tonight on "nightline" world exclusive. diane sawyer goes head-to-head with donald rumsfeld in a tv first. the former secretary of defense opens up as never before. the controversies, the wars, the wmds and the big question what did he get wrong? plus, the man whose public face has been defiance, gets emotional for the first time during his private times at home dur his tenure at the pentagon.
surprising interview starts right now. >> from the global resources of abc news, with terry moran, cynthia mcfadden and bill weir in new york city, this is "night line" february 7, 2011. >> so what's your reaction to the don rumsfeld book? >> well i think i have seen that or at least parts of that. you mean -- i know what i think about the book, i like it. >> no, the way it's treated. >> the way it's treated? >> trumpets blowing? >> sounds like it's hype. i guess they want people to watch their television show, why they do it that way. that's -- that's not -- the book is characterized quite differently by other people as -- as a serious, historical book that people interested in history will read. >> what's your reaction to, in two cases they show you breaking down on the camera.
what is your reaction to seeing that? >> you know, i wish -- i don't know what my reaction is. it happened. my wife was terribly sick and almost died one point and we've -- my dad had alzheimer's and it's something that's hard to talk about or think. and those are things that i'm not normally discussing but she asked the questions and i answered then as best i could have have you seen christopher dickies' review of your book in bloomberg business news? >> no, i haven't. >> he says i've known don rumsfeld for 15 years and approached known and unknown with trepidation. i was against the iraq war from the outset. and then he says, "known and unknown" changed my mind. rumsfeld doesn't suffer from testosterone deficit syndrome, and he comes at the reader with his jaw full out. yet even his critics would have to stain to assert that he's
dishonest. he takes his share of blame for the administration's overemphasis on wmds. there were he writes many other valid reasons for taking out saddam hussein among them more than numerous veelations of the u.n. resolutions. he insists america did the right thing in i rake and would do it again. he believes bush 41 should have finished the job on the first go-around but doesn't buy into the oedipal theefry much in vogue, that he upstaged his own man. against the war, likes your book. does that surprise you? >> no. i hope other people who read the book carefully. i've seen negative comments on the book and it sounded like they hadn't read it. but that sounds like a person who -- a serious person who has read it and that's what he thinks, and people can think what they think. that's the way our country works. >> interrupt me at any tooil,
i'm going read you the column from last friday, february 11th. did you see that? >> i haven't. >> al new heart's 86, he was the found of usa today, he has a column every friday and says, don rumsfeld, best known and remembered as president george w. bush's secretary of defense before and duringite rack war penned 815-page book released titled "known and unknown" it should remain us how little we knew about iraq and how rumsfeld, vice president cheney and others pulled the wool over our eyes. >> that's just inaccurate, in the book as i discuss at some length, think about this. colin powell is the one who made the presentation at the united nations. he probably had more experience dealing with intelligence materials than anyone, including george tenet, director of cia. one of the intelligence elements reported to him at department of state, he spent days workingen it. he prepared a speech for the
world which he believed every single word in it, let there be no doubt. president bush believed every word he said as vice president cheney and condi rice and as did i. i think that is -- i don't know quite how to characterize a person who would come to that conclusion when all of the evidence is to the contrary. the congress, republicans and democrats alike, looked at same intelligence and voted overwhelmingly for the resolution for president bush. the political leadership in the congress, hillary clinton, bill clinton, john kerry, one after another, al gore, were in support. now, when things didn't go well, obviously they shifted their positions some what. but you can go back to the record is clear. the intelligence agencies of the united kingdom and of france and other countries all were in agreement and i think it's --
it's terribly unfair to suggest that anyone was pulling the wool over anyone's eyes. it's just flat not true. >> al writes they said fixing the problem would be simple before the invasion rumsfeld told troops it could last six days, six weeks, i doubt six months. cheney said the conflict would be weeks rather than months. >> we're talking about major combat operations. and there was nothing inaccurate there at all. and i -- i don't know how many times i said that anyone who tells you how long it's going to last, how much it's going to cost, how many lives will be lost is making a mistake, because people almost always are wrong. >> maureen dowd -- >> you've got to be kidding. >> here we go. donald rumsfeld has only 815 pages including a scintillating list of acronyms to explain why he was not responsible when stuff happened, that's on old phrase of yours. his memoir "known and unknown" is like a living breathing
version of the man himself, very thorough, highly analytical and totally absent any credible self-criticism. >> false. she must not have read it. anyone who has read it as you have, knows that i've tried in there to talk about things that were disappointments or things that one might regret and i did regret or do regret. i think what i've done is to try to set out not only my recollections and opinions but documentation that supports it. >> do you read that stuff when you're -- >> no. >> don't ever? >> maureen dowd? my goodness gracious. >> why not? >> you've got do be -- >> why not? >> why would one in? he has a fix ache and cynical. my wife read one and said i sure hope that woman is not as cynical in all of her life as she is in her column because it would be such an unhappy life. >> on a normal day how do you filter information in to you now that your in civilian life? >> i obviously use a computer
and i listen to news programs occasionally. and i read a lot. i read newspapers. >> let's me stop there because in the early part -- i want to go back to some of this -- in the early part of the book you cite whitaker chambers as having an impact on your life. >> the book "witness" was an important book, for whatever reason, partly because it's an important book but i read it at an important time in my life. i was in college and i watched the army of mccarthy hearings and they had an impact on me. it was an opportunity to see the congress going beyond its proper role. >> go back to "witness" for a moment. what was it about that whole episode that got your attention? >> the cold war was on, here was a man who was a communist, and in a confessed communist, and
the hearings, of course, in the congress, where there was alger his on one side, a person a clerk for felix frankfurter, attract in, going to nice schools and so forth and a man who was an admitted communist, wasn't very attractive, nobody believed him, supporting him. when the thing all sorted out it turns out that whitaker chamber was correct and his had known him and had been a communist. and that twist where what everyone seemed to think wasn't the case. was helpful. also at the time the soviet union was aggressive and expanding in several continents. there was concern about the influence of communism in the world and i was studying government and political science in school.
so it just had an effect. >> "witness" you mentioned the arm mccarthy hearings. are there other things like that that are still with you years later. >> well, adlai stevenson speech in college in 1954 unquestionably the -- a speech that was inspiring. it was -- it was elegant. it was eloquent. it was pointed young men getting ready to go off and serve in the military. and yet it left me with a clear understanding that all of us have an obligation participate and help guide and direct our country. and civic responsibilities. and i hope people read it. i put that speech on my website so it might inspire other people. >> i want to show you some video from 20 year ago. this was a conference on the presidency at hoster university on long island, and this is only 30 seconds.
it will speak for itself. >> so many people would come up to me when i was chief of staff and say, rummy, this is goofy, the president's making a terrible mistake, we've simply got to get him to change his mind. i'd said terrific, i'll make an appointment, we'll poe in this afternoon, we take the guy in there, the guy will get steamed up, smoke coming out of his ears, walk into the president's office, genuflect, kiss his ring, tell hem a wonderful job he was doing walk out and said, that should have set him straight, bang. they go absolutely to jelly when he walk in the oval office. i suppose i understand it, but i must say i found it frustrating. >> how often did you see that happen? >> oh, all the time. you know, one of -- i have been collecting things i call rumsfeld's rules, they're not mine, they're insights of people a lot smarter than i am. one of them is that if you have proximity to a president, you
automatically have an obligation to tell him the truth and what you really believe with the bark off. because people who don't have proximity and only go in and see him occasionally simply don't want to do it. they will tell me and they'll say this is terrible, he's got -- jerry ford's got to do this or george w. bush has to do that and he's making a big mistake, you put them in there and they just can't get it out. it's their one chance, and they want to -- they want the president to know they like him and wish him well, and are positive about him generally and they don't want to use their brief moment with the president to open a wound. >> can you remember when you told the president exactly how you feel about things. >> oh my goodness, over and over and over. >> give us an example, some moment. >> if you go to my book i discuss my situation with gerald ford. now, that's unusual. a man, only president i've ever known who was a friend.
we served in congress together, i -- as i talk about in the book, i tried to -- i did help him because minority leader of the united states house of representatives. and so we had a different kind of a relationship than one would normally have with the president. i would walk in to him over and over and there are or will soon be memos on my websites where we're -- i just say precisely what i said. and what i would do is say, looking i think you're doing this flat wrong, let me tell you why. one time he was getting ready to give a speech on the wind program, a whip inflation now program work i read it came to me late, he'd scheduled time for the congress and i read it, i went in to him and said, look this is not good enough for a president, simply is not going to do the job. too important a subject and i urge you to cancel your speech, take five minutes and simply say to the world the truth, truth is, this is an enormously important issue, the economy was in the tank, and that you're not